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Remedy  •  22 February 2021  •  Non-Fiction

Passion to Profession

By Taylah Darnell
Passion to Profession

I got a few dodgy looks from my high school teachers and classmates when I told them I’d found a uni course I loved that allowed me to major in creative writing‭. ‬Part of me likes to believe they only looked at me that way because I’d decided so early‭, ‬but I’d like to think I’m socially aware enough to realise that it was because‭ ‬I was romanticising the shit out of the infamously‭ ‬unreliable creative industry‭. ‬I didn’t care though‭, ‬not in the slightest‭. ‬Once I knew that I could spend my time‭ ‬at university surrounded by students who didn’t scoff‭ ‬at the set texts in English class‭, ‬my mind was made up‭. ‬

I still remember the day I was accepted‭. ‬I was sitting on my floral bedspread‭, ‬Mum next to me‭, ‬my laptop between us‭. ‬It was a warm afternoon‭. ‬I can remember a light breeze carrying in the sounds of traffic through the open glass doors‭. ‬This memory lives in‭ ‬my head with such ferocious clarity because it truly felt like the beginning of the rest of my life‭. ‬Throughout the entirety of‭ ‬my last year in high school‭, ‬I was fanatically researching university courses‭, ‬trying to find the perfect one‭. ‬I didn’t particularly know what specific career I’d wanted‭, ‬but I knew what I was passionate about and I wouldn’t settle for anything less‭.‬

I remember my first year of classes on campus‭. ‬It was full of buying the physical copies of required texts even though they were‭ ‬free online‭, ‬simply because nothing beats flipping pages‭. ‬I listened to lecturers in absolute awe as they got lost in literary‭ ‬discussion‭. ‬I wrote down every single word from every single slide so I could pour over it when I got home‭. ‬I had lunch on campus with new friends‭. ‬I spent hours in the library and loved the exclusivity that came with tapping my student ID card upon entry‭.‬‭ ‬

But I also remember the harsh realities of second‭ ‬year‭. ‬Realising that I knew so little‭, ‬that the structured curriculum of high school English class really didn’t teach me anything about what it meant to be a writer‭, ‬other than how to construct a wicked essay‭. ‬I learnt that being a writer‭ ‬was a goal very few achieved‭. ‬These realisations hardened me in a way I’ll always be grateful for‭. ‬Studying at university felt like the rose-coloured glasses I’d proudly worn were being ripped off my face‭, ‬only to show me that the world was much prettier‭ ‬without them‭. ‬I discovered the editing and publishing industry‭. ‬I found not only comfort in the fact that I could work with books while I tried to produce them myself‭, ‬but excitement at the prospect of working with up-and-coming‭, ‬and even famous‭, ‬authors‭. ‬The idea‭ ‬

of working collaboratively with another writer to bring‭ ‬their manuscript‭ ‬—‭ ‬their most prized and precious‭ ‬possession‭ ‬—‭ ‬to life‭, ‬made me feel giddy with elation‭. ‬The weight of my career had shifted‭, ‬my shoulders felt lighter‭. ‬

I learnt self-discipline‭, ‬which was difficult to adjust to‭ ‬but proved insanely rewarding‭. ‬I learnt to challenge‭ ‬myself and experiment with my craft‭, ‬to step outside the boundaries that had been drilled into me during high school‭. ‬I found freedom in my writing and became truly aware of the deep and complex world of literature‭; ‬of different eras‭, ‬genres‭, ‬structures‭, ‬styles and form‭. ‬And most importantly‭, ‬I discovered my own voice‭. ‬I figured out how to best express myself‭, ‬how to bring my stories‭ ‬and characters to life with fierce vividity‭. ‬I still find‭ ‬fitting my work into marking rubrics and structured‭ ‬criterias restrictive‭, ‬but nothing like the restraint I was‭ ‬under before I saw the world of literature through the lens of a creative writing major‭. ‬The passion I once‭ ‬had was a mere shadow of the passion I have now‭, ‬blossoming from the knowledge and experiences I’ve gained‭ ‬through such a refined yet seemingly bottomless degree‭.‬

‭ ‬I graduate this year and I think all the worrying‭ ‬

I avoided in high school has come for its revenge‭. ‬The fearlessness I felt in choosing to major in creative writing has slowly begun to dissipate as the realities of post-education life start to rear their scary little heads‭. ‬I’m more than happy to admit that I’ve grown comfortable in my degree‭. ‬I’ve grown to adore the title of‭ ‬‘creative writing student’‭ ‬and unashamedly state it when people ask me what I study‭. ‬It’s almost become a safe place for me‭, ‬and I’ll look back with nothing but joy‭ (‬and a little assignment anxiety‭). ‬I’m so deeply ingrained in my routine now‭, ‬so happy to be learning about the things I love most in the world at a depth‭ ‬I couldn’t have fathomed as a high school student‭. ‬To‭ ‬be surrounded by people who love literature just as‭ ‬much as I do‭. ‬But I guess I can’t be a student forever‭. ‬I’m confident in the fact that I can take what I’ve learnt and apply it to an industry I’m passionate about in a personalised and innovative way‭. ‬And even though I’m confronted daily with the fear that I’m not going to be successful‭, ‬I look back on the education I’ve been so‭ ‬lucky to receive and know I’d be stupid not to give it‭ ‬a red-hot crack‭. ‬

Who knows‭, ‬I might actually make it‭.‬

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